Crisis Management

Being a comic geek and more specifically a DC Comics reader I'm paying attention to all the events that are going on in the DCU this year. For those who don't know DC has approximately 1,496 events going on in 2008 and tie-in issues to each event. OK, that's an exaggeration, but for some it's not much of one. Grant Morrison and J.G. Jones are already two issues in to Final Crisis. Batman R.I.P. is well under way. There's more to come with big things in store for Green Lantern, Superman and Wonder Woman.

This raises the question: when is it just too much?

The DC editorial staff have to be fit to be tied for continuity logistics. There's a lot of stuff going on in one "universe" with major players crossing over all over the place. One question that rises for those of us following the multiple events concerns Batman. If something is happening in Batman's own title that is removing Bruce Wayne from under the caper and cowl, then who is it appearing as Batman in Final Crisis? Or do the events of FC occur before the current Batman storyline? If the latter is the case then the events of FC #2 lose much of there punch since we as readers know that Batman will be fine by the event's end. I'm surprised that there's not more clarity since Morrison is writing both events.

This is not a new problem for DC, since their recently concluded year long weekly series Countdown had the same issue. That title was meant to be the "backbone" of the DCU giving readers a view of what was going on. One of the nagging questions left by it concerns the character Kyle Rayner. Last year's "Sinestro Corp" event had some of it's impact taken out of it when Rayner who was in serious danger was revealed to be just fine in Countdown and stated that his appearance takes place after the Sinestro storyline. To date the Green Lantern titles have yet to acknowledge any absence of Rayner for any amount of time. He's appeared nearly every month in Green Lantern Corp. So, we have some continuity confusion there.

Countdown and other titles have been published by DC for the expressed purpose of priming readers for Final Crisis. Unfortunately this has been a major misstep on the part of DC. The series meant to excite the readers were lackluster at best, and many die-hard fans of Jack Kirby's Fourth World found Jim Starlin's Death of the New Gods to be poorly researched at best and downright insulting at worst. FC ends up being much more enjoyable without reading any of DC's recent efforts to excite us. Even moreso since it seems Morrison is out and out ignoring everything that happened in the lead up titles.

Before anyone thinks that this is a misstep on Morrison's part it should be said that Morrison's story is the horse and the other books are indeed the cart. Morrison pitched the story and everyone was so excited about it that they wanted all roads to lead towards it. This meant writers that had no knowledge of what Morrison was actually up to were to set the stage for him. The powers that be showed too much. There are cases when the readers do not need every detail of something happening, they just need to know it happened. DC was also guilty of this in their series 52 in which one issue of it depicted Black Adam's rampage. It was completely unnecessary for the publisher to release a four issue mini series around the events of one issue when the writers handled everything just fine.

As for FC itself, my reaction is tepid so far. Things are happening in the story that I don't like. I'm very much opposed to the return of Barry Allen, and do hope that it's a short stay. I did not like the "killing" of the Martian Manhunter. Seeing his funeral on Mars did tie up one of the mysteries of DC 1,000,000 in which Kyle Rayner discovers that J'onn had become one with the planet Mars in the far future. Frankly I'm not terribly excited by the series. I'm seeing a lot of parallels between it and seventh season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer in which the main antagonist was evil itself. In both, the respective 'big bads' used minions and pawns to do their dirty work. Evil had finally decided that the balance between it and good was boring and has decided to play for keeps.

Because of this I am convinced that the true identity of Libra is really... Nathan Fillion.

DC had it's ducks in a row much better in and around Geoff Johns and Phil Jimenez's Infinite Crisis. There was a much clearer timeline to what was going on. This is thanks much better co-ordination among the writers.

So, for many this year is one big Christmas for DCU readers with presents and surprises for months to come. There's even build up to 2009's "Blackest Night" already going on. It's very much like Christmas for me especially.

I'm very busy "visiting" with everyone.

I'm going to end up spending a lot of money.

Finally, I'm going to be relieved once it's over.
Test post. More to come later.